- The signs and symptoms linked to dementia can be understood in three stages.
Early-stage: The early stage of dementia is often overlooked because the onset is gradual. Common symptoms include:
- losing track of the time
- becoming lost in familiar places.
Middle stage: As dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms become clearer and more restricting. These include:
- becoming forgetful of recent events and people's names
- becoming lost at home
- having increasing difficulty with communication
- needing help with personal care
- Experiencing behaviour changes, including wandering and repeated questioning.
Late-stage: The late stage of dementia is one of near-total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include:
- becoming unaware of the time and place
- having difficulty in recognizing relatives and friends
- having an increasing need for assisted self-care
- having difficulty in walking
- experiencing behavioural changes that may escalate and include aggression
Additional cognitive impairment
- Speech - Aphasia, word-finding difficulty
- Alzheimer's disease – Slow, progressive, episodic impairment of memory
- Vascular dementia – abrupt cognitive decline
- Lewy body dementia – steady decline, visual hallucinations
- Fronto temporal dementia – early changes in personality, apathy
- Pseudo dementia- associated with major depression, mimics dementia, memory loss
- Normal ageing